Historians find examples of signature quilts dating back to the 1800s. These quilts were made as a remembrance, a keepsake, and a way to commemorate special events. One example of communities, friends, and family creating a signature quilt was when families traveled westward; the community would often come together to make a signature quilt for the travelers to remember friends and family left behind. Societies or social clubs would also create them to commemorate a special event. At the Lake Mary Museum, the Signature Quilt, constructed in 1926-1927 as a keepsake and a commemoration of a special event, is a permanent exhibit at the Lake Mary Museum. The creation of the quilt was undertaken by the Lake Mary Ladies Aid Society, intending to raise funds for the construction of the Lake Mary Presbyterian Church building on N. Country Club Road.
Cloth squares were made available to anyone interested in adding their name to the quilt. Each signor donated at least 5 cents to add their signature, in pencil, to a cloth block. When all 30 squares were signed and returned to the Lake Mary Ladies Aid Society, 747 signatures, including that of 30th United States President Calvin Coolidge, had been collected. The ladies then embroidered over the penciled signatures with red thread and joined the blocks together with strips of red material to complete the quilt.
The Lake Mary Ladies Aid Society held a fundraising event for the church and included the quilt in the auction. Stella Evans, the wife of one of Lake Mary’s premier business people, Frank Evans, purchased the quilt for a whopping $100!
The quilt is an excellent reminder of those who lived in Lake Mary in the late 1920s. Many of the families included on the quilt still reside in Lake Mary. Looking closely at the quilt, the pencil marks under the embroidery are still visible.
Over the next few weeks, we will post photos of each block of the quilt and a transcription of the names inscribed. Come in and see it for yourself!